Tilburg University department Social Psychology

External PhD in Social & Economic Psychology

Tilburg University, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Type of degree: PhD

Contact person: Michael Bender / m.bender@tilburguniversity.edu

Department website www.tilburguniversity.edu/social-psychology

Contact graduate school: graduateschool.tsb@tilburguniversity.edu

Website Graduate school

Obtaining a PhD (“External PhD”) in Social & Economic Psychology

This information is meant for students who would like to combine their regular work with a PhD project (dual trajectory of work and study, locally known as 'an external PhD project').

Who Is Eligible?

You need to be eligible to become a student at the Graduate School. We need certified copies of your major diplomas. The Doctorate Board of the University takes the final decision about admission on the basis of information provided by the Graduate School.

The main criterion is whether your previous education record is sufficient to allow you to register for a PhD. A Master’s degree in Psychology or a related subject or an equivalent qualification usually is the minimum sufficient requirement, but in the case of some countries a degree may not be recognized as equivalent to the Dutch MSc. The assessment procedure usually does not take longer than a few weeks.

Moreinformation on the Graduate School regulations (mostly for internal PhD candidates)

How Long Does a PhD Project Take?

The projects of PhD students who are on the payroll of the university take four years. It is our experience that PhD projects, conducted by students who have a regular job, take about the same time or longer, depending on whether they combine work with activities on their project such as data collection.

Preparing a Proposal

Before you start writing the proposal, you should contact one of the staff members to agree on a topic. The first part of the application procedure will be writing a research proposal. This proposal will specify the topic of your study, the theoretical background, method aspects of the study, a time schedule, and a financial schedule. The topic should fall within the field of competence of the senior staff.


In general, given the willingness on the side of the supervisor, topics overlapping with content outside of social psychology can be accommodated by finding an appropriate co-supervisor.

Once the topic has been agreed, you have to write a thesis proposal. This need not be done in Tilburg, but we have a strong preference for this happening here. The proposal has to be approved by the supervisor(s) and by the Graduate School of School of Social Sciences before a candidate can be formally admitted to the Graduate School.


How Often Do You Need to Be in Tilburg?

In the course of your research and writing we need to see you regularly in Tilburg, even though we assume that e-mail (and VOIP) will be the most frequent means of communication. The costs for travel and for board and lodging will have to be paid from funds supplied by you.

We think that one visit per year is the very minimum. How long a visit should last also depends on the phase of the project, facilities (library, computer) that you need to consult, and the supervision that you require. 

The Thesis Outline

The thesis will start with a chapter that has a general introduction, followed by a number of chapters that are at the core of the thesis, and a conclusion chapter. The core of the thesis will comprise a number of empirical subprojects (usually 3-5) of the larger project. These chapters are almost always articles that have been submitted to relevant peer-reviewed scientific journals in the course of the project. Supervisors and collaborators (if applicable) are co-authors of the articles (the PhD student is the first author).


Examples of Current Ongoing External PhD Projects
  • Implicit and explicit antecedents of job satisfaction and absenteeism in the health sector.
  • Contextualization of the role of bilingualism and parental cultural maintenance behavior for well-being and ethnic identity among teenagers.
  • Acculturation and Autobiographical memories across contexts and immigrant groups: Why and where we reminisce.